Woman bludgeoned to death
AN Ipswich woman was killed in her own home during a bloody and brutal assault with a blunt object, possibly a metal bar.
Ipswich Magistrate’s Court was told Vicki Hunter, 55, had suffered a series of skull fractures in the attack in Raceview on May 7 last year.
Her husband, Ian Robert Hunter, has been charged with her murder.
He suffered cuts to his body, a bruised head and had a letter opener protruding from his hand when he called police to the couple’s Sonter Street home.
Hunter initially told a police officer in the ambulance which took him to hospital that his wife had inflicted his injuries.
But a committal hearing this week heard
that he later claimed that an as-yet-unidentified intruder with a New Zealand accent had attacked him.
A few weeks later Mr Hunter sat silently beside his eldest son Jason and made a plea through the media for information which could help find his wife’s killer.
During the investigation, police said they wanted to talk to a man with a tribal tattoo, who had allegedly been seen near the Hunters’ home.
But Hunter was taken into custody on July 6 last year and charged with murdering his wife.
Her injuries were so severe that a pathologist thought they must have been caused by someone with a mental illness.
Jason Hunter told the court his father had said: “He was in bed; he had got up because he heard a noise”.
“When he approached the front door someone came from behind the curtains and knocked him over,” Jason said.
“While he was on the ground he continued to hit him and was asking where his stash was.
“After that he didn’t remember anything other than dialling triple-0.”
Jason said his father seemed genuinely upset and distraught over his wife’s death.
“There’s been no instance of me looking at him or thinking he had done that up until the day he was charged,” Jason said.
Forensic pathologist Dr Nigel Buxton said it was highly likely Hunter’s injuries were self-inflicted.
Police encouraged Hunter’s family and friends to secretly tape conversations they had with him during the investigation, despite not announcing he was a suspect.
The court heard Hunter liked to play poker machines and had given his wife $200,000 to hide from him so he didn’t “piss it up against the wall”.
Hunter’s former workmates said the defendant admitted having financial problems after losing his savings in Storm Financial.
After Mrs Hunter’s death, her son and daughter-in-law began applying for her life insurance which was about $180,000.
But the couple’s son Jason said his father had wanted the insurance money to go to his sons.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said there had been footprints leading from the scene to the neighbour’s fence, and unidentified DNA from hair and a cigarette butt had been found at the crime scene.
He asked why some “persons of interest” had not been interviewed. Detectives said they could not find them.
The court heard Mrs Hunter’s engagement ring and pearl necklace were missing.
Hunter’s daughter-in-law Louise described him as “compassionate, gentle and a big softie”.
“I kept telling police he wouldn’t do that,” she said.
The hearing will continue on March 7.